It is difficult if not impossible for me to imagine the depth of the desolation of Jesus’ disciples, friends and followers on this day, particularly perhaps after night had fallen. They lost a beloved leader, under circumstances which seemed to negate entirely his message. He had died a cruel and degrading death at the hands of the Romans with the connivance of the established powers of their own nation. Then bringing finality to these dreadful events, Jesus’ body was laid in a tomb closed by a stone as reported in the gospels assigned for today. The anticipation of these earliest Christians for the future must have been grim indeed. Under the circumstances, is it possible that Mary Magdalene, and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, failed to recognize the risen Jesus when they first saw him?
The Old Testament readings from Job and Lamentations fit this mood. They were written at times of great national distress for the Jewish people of their times due to foreign invasion and enslavement and, at the time of Lamentations, the fall of the temple in Jerusalem in addition. Thus I find it remarkable that the writer of Lamentations writes:
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I will hope in him.”
May this thought bring us to Easter Day!